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2023 Workshop. The Politics of Care in Puerto Rican Classrooms

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions about care policies have proliferated in academic circles. Even in colonial contexts such as Puerto Rico, and given the social disasters caused by natural catastrophes (such as hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, the earthquakes in 2020, and Hurricane Fiona in 2022), there has been more attention to state failures and gaps in public provisions. In the 21st century, "The Politics of Care" emerged as a new approach to political and social thought that overcomes the limits of liberal approaches and proposes a rich trans-disciplinary approach that theorizes and practices "care" as a survival strategy in the face of legal, racial, patriarchal, heteronormative, and police violence. Likewise, it critiques the limited access to health services, reproductive rights, job security and the increasingly difficulty of access to housing and land as a result of extractive policies and forced displacement. Through this year’s Area Studies Curriculum Development Program, we intend to address a breadth of topics, from female reproductive health or gender identities to practices of displacement of impoverished populations, through racial or heteronormative violence, as they relate to "care" writ broadly. One of the essential purposes of the workshop is to create a collaborative space for and with the educators of the island with the aim of integrating regional and global concepts, practices, and experiences into their curricular development for the upcoming scholastic year and into the future.

Reference Suggestions:

  • The Politics of Care: From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter (2020)
  • The politics of care.  By Woodly D, Brown RH, Marin M, Threadcraft S, Harris CP, Syedullah J, Ticktin M. in Contemp Polit Theory. 2021;20(4):890–925.
  • Care-Centered Politics by Robert Gottlieb 2022
  • The Political Philosphy of Care. Interview between Sara Leonard and Deva Woodly, Dissent Magazine Winter 2022

Overall: The Annual Area Studies Curriculum Development Program is the cornerstone of the collaboration between the University of Michigan and the University of Puerto Rico. It is aimed at supporting elementary and secondary teachers, teachers in training, and other educators on the island in the internationalization of their classroom instruction and material.


  • Expand access to area studies instruction and classroom resources.
  • Strengthen institutional and professional ties with K-12 schools for area studies content development.
  • Provide greater professional development opportunities for K-12 educators as they relate to area studies.
  • Share new and innovative research on area studies content and inclusive pedagogies.
  • Foster spaces of dialogue and professional support for the sharing of best practices among K-12 educators as they relate to area studies.

Program Beneficiaries:

  • K-12 teachers in Puerto Rico, primarily located in the San Juan metropolitan area.
  • Teachers in training at the University of Puerto Rico.
  • Advanced graduate students at the University of Michigan and the University of Puerto Rico.